The Creole cuisine
The Creole cuisine is a mixture of the cuisine and recipe of France, India and Africa, the Creole cuisine is the best result of this historical blend. The Creole cuisine is simple and homely, but even if it can be simple it does not mean that it is not generous and delicious, this Caribbean cuisine is very tasty and spicy.
The Creole food takes its character from the history of the French West Indies. The mixing inhabitants arrived from several places on the planet contributes much to this mix.
From Africa comes the cultivation of the “root” as yam, Madeira and sweet potato that were all imported and grown in the French West Indies to feed the slaves. The same applies to the cassava flower, still used today in kasav and some Creole recipes.
The consumption of peas of angolles generally comes from Africa. In the countryside, women pick these peas and keep them to put them in dishes like Congo soup. To make a good soup Congo, three different varieties of peas are necessary: (pea soap, peas and peas boucoussouangol). This dish, synonymous with nostalgia, is inherited from the blacks of the Congo. It is tasted at Christmas, when the representatives of the families gather for this feast and have brought with them the peas that will be mixed in the soup.
The Indians brought with them curry, an essential ingredient for the preparation of Colombo, a dish of Tamil origin. With the exception of a few local spices, Creole cuisine mainly uses Indian spices.
The Arawaks and the Caribes used the Roucou which is still in use in Guadeloupe, a red grain used in sauces, notably because of its coloring powers.
Finally, the Creole cuisine has inherited from France a good number of basic ingredients, at a difficult time when food was scarce. Indeed, previously, the majority of food consumed in the West Indies came from France from boats. Flower, rice, smoked bacon and chest, pulses, fish, were until very recently, the essential ingredients of Caribbean cuisine. It is not surprising that in most Creole dishes there is bacon and cod.
From this period was born the art of economy and dosage. But it is lost today. Sometimes some dishes are an amazing blend of cloves that one might think is one at the dentist. In the same way, the famous coconut sorbets, sold on the beach, often taste more almonds than coconut, because in some recipes one finds under extract of bitter almond. Today, almond oil is affordable and accessible in any supermarket which gives taste to these fabulous coconut ice at the edge of the beach.
Creole cuisine is also the art of assembling little things and recycling the remains. Nothing is lost! A handful of rice and a handful of red beans go perfectly with any dish, which is why these two ingredients are often found in Creole dishes. Meetings of offal are also important elements in most Creole dishes. Tripes are the basis of Matete or Matatou. Pork feet and tail are particularly appreciated. The blood of the dead animal is used to make “puddings”.
A Creole meal always starts with a small punch. Prepared with fresh fruit, there are varieties as much as there are types of leaks. More or less sweet, the softness of the punch should not make it forget that it is made with 50 ° rum and the added sugar makes the elevation of the level of alcohol. Do not drink too much!
The Punch is often served with small papers like mini bousins, or patty in rolls. Some, like fritas (with cod and shrimp) have become famous too, to taste so.
After this, dishes arrive: dombre and ouassous (crepe made with flour accompanied by local crayfish, called “z’habitants” in Martinique), calalou (with a leaf or maramemadere base), Matete and Matoutou Crab dipped in lemon), “chatroux stews” (small squid) or lambis (very large shellfish), baby biscuit (breadfruit, banana, Giraumon and tripe), crab stuffed, macadam (cod and cod) Grilled and torn to rags) or fierce (avocado, cod and cassava flower).
Not forgetting the famous colombo (meat dishes, with curry) or pâté (soup with vegetables and offal). Some dishes are only eaten at certain times of the year such as Christmas ham, caramelized honey, pierced with cloves and dried in the oven.
In addition to cod, fresh fish is also very present in the Creole cuisine. With an exceptional flavor in the West Indies, small fish in the masses or a slice of thasar, prepared in short broth (blaff) or grilled.
Other than smoked bacon, meat has always been rare and expensive. The chicken is highly appreciated by locals who consume it smoked; meaning smoked using burnt sugar cane. Excellent! The cabri is also consumed since the arrival of the Indians who eat often. Finally, veal and pork do not forget. Often, the animal is killed in the garden, a small event to which the family attends, and where the desired pieces are reserved.
Many pieces of fruit and vegetables accompany these dishes. Tubers, of course, but also fruits of bread, fruits of breadfruit imported from Polynesia which was cheaper to feed the slaves. It can be eaten green or ripe, peeled or boiled like a potato. Bananas are also common on tables in the West Indies. Many varieties of vegetables or fruits, many different types exist. Papaya and Cristophine are frequently used.
Peppers are ubiquitous in the Creole cuisine, it accompanies all dishes. Particularly strong, because of the Creole chili, they are used to cleanse and flavor foods. Also used for cooking, you need to make sure they have been removed before serving. On the table, it is presented on a saucer. You stick your fork in it and then rub it on your food to flavor it. You must be careful with chilies, do not put too much, you will not be able to eat it!
Finally, for the gourmands, exotic fruits are on the menu for dessert: syrup, sweets, jams or compotes. Without forgetting sweetmeats, philibots, lotchios, cratchés, the famous white coconut (vanilla-scented coconut), banana flambé with classic rum or the torment of love (Savoy cake with cream coconut, Specialty of Saintes).
This simple and tasty cuisine can be found right in the food of workers who often eat cod and onion or sardine butter sandwiches.
The Antilles does not manufacture wine, but consumes a lot. The beer is principally imported, except for the Lorraine beer which is excellently brewed. But the great surprise is the abundance of the exotic fruit juice that will delight the lovers.
This Creole cuisine which is so varied and tasty is unfortunately disappearing. Demanding, it takes a lot of patience and hard work. For example, cod dipping is an essential step in the preparation. If you forget to do it, the cod will be inedible.
The coat of the bread tree, the scarification and the threshing of the conch and lambi are extremely tiring and these tasks require a lot of strength. Finally, it is impossible to find breadfruit in the restaurants, and the lambi and chatroux are often more rubbery than an old tire.
Finally, some ingredients are disappearing or lacking the necessary quality that has created the real flavor of Creole dishes: more ouassous or inhabitant, but crawfish (aquaculture in Guadeloupe produces ouassous d ‘Breeding of excellent quality because respecting the environment with very strict standards, which is not the case for the ouassous frozen that you find in supermarket) and lambi and the lobsters are frozen. To taste a lobster you must choose one alive.
The best way to taste creoles cuisine is to be invited in a Guadeloupe’s or Martinique’s residence. As well, globalization is now worldwide. Considered as having a terrible historical background and as dishes for the black or the poor, the Creole cuisine has been rejected by the rich class of the population, override by the traditional foodstuffs and that of the metropolitan France.. The success of fast foods in the Antilles is competing the Creole cuisine. Not appreciated and rejected by the new generation that opens to cuisine of the world. This culinary tradition is endangered if nothing is done to raise awareness of the Antilles in the preservation of this essential patrimony.